Introduction: Toy Workbench With Lots of Wooden Tools

About: If its practical, I have no use for it!

Lets make a kid's toy workbench and give them lots of tools! Support and educate the next Instructable generation!

Sadly, due to our current Covid-19 restrictions I wasn't able to take a picture or movie with our grandson playing at the workbench. Maybe during the Holidays ...


Hardwood like maple or cherry

2 by 4 lumber

1/4-20 threaded inserts

1/4-20 screws

Wood glue

Step 1: The Bench

The work bench consists of two 18” by 18” maple wood frames and four L-shaped rails to connect the front and back. The frame pieces are 3/4 inch thick and the joints were made with a biscuit jointer, but you could use mortise/tenon or pocket-hole joints. I built the work bench so it can be taken apart for storage. To connect the front/back to the side rails I used threaded wood inserts and 1/4-20 stainless steel screws. The bottom shelf is 8" by 16-1/4".

A pdf file with drawings and detailed views is attached.

Step 2: The Top

The top is made from 2 by 4 lumber jointed, glued together, planed, and sanded. Dimensions are 12" by 22". I carefully picked sections of the 2 by 4s to avoid any knots. Use your choice of hardwood if you want to make a nicer top. To attach the top to the bench frame I glued two strips of hardwood to the bottom and again used threaded inserts and screws. The assembled bench is quite sturdy, yet it can be taken apart easily. I finished the bench and top with several coats of polyurethane. You can remove and replace the top down the road with a nice hardwood top to make a cute little kid's table.

Step 3: Hole Pattern

A pdf file for the hole pattern is attached; feel free to drill holes where you see fit. I drilled most holes at 1/2 inch diameter, but I also included some 3/4 inch holes. These holes are for 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch dowels for the accessories, wooden "nails" and screws, and tools. Spacing for the holes is 1-1/2 inches in both directions. This spacing is only important if you want to use the gears from step 11.

Step 4: Now for the Fun Part - Accessories and Tools

Nails - plain and slotted

Cut out the "nail" heads from 1/2” or 3/4” thick hardwood. Mark a 1 inch circle and drill a center hole with a 1/2” drill bit. Cut close to the outside circle on a bandsaw or scroll saw, then sand to the circle to make the outside a nice round. Cut a slot 1/8” deep into a 1/2” dowel, this is for the "screw driver". Then glue the dowel into the round head. My "nails" are about 3" long.

You can also use the nail heads without the dowel as washers. Make a few of them for spacers.

Depending on the dowels you use, the "nails" may be a tight or loose fit in the 1/2" holes of the workbench. You can sand some of them down so they fit easy, and leave others tight to be pounded in with the hammer. You can also slot the lower ends of the "nail" for a compression fit. No matter what, you'll need to experiment with your specific materials.

Step 5: Hammer

Cut the shape of the hammer from the attached template from a 3” by 1”, 3/4” thick piece of hardwood. Drill a 1/2” hole into the bottom; then glue in a 6” long dowel for the handle. I had some fun with the laser engraving! The hammer is pretty lightweight so it shouldn't be too dangerous in your toddler's hand. If you are brave and have a lathe you can make a more substantial mallet.

Step 6: Screwdriver

Drill a 1/2” diameter hole 3/4” deep down the center of a 1” dowel. Glue a 1/2” dowel into this hole, then shape the tip to make a flat-tipped screwdriver. The tip should fit into the slots you cut in the "nails" from a prior step.

Step 7: Saw

The handsaw is laminated from three pieces of 5 mm thick maple - the saw blade and the handle (twice). The template is attached. I used a laser cutter for these pieces, but you can easily use a scroll saw. A great little noisemaker toy!

Step 8: Pliers

Here is how I made some functional pliers. Laser cut or scroll-saw the individual pieces from the attached template. I used cherry wood that I re-sawed (sliced) on my table saw to a thickness of 5 mm. Laminate the pieces with wood glue. Pay attention to the orientation when you glue the lamination; I found out the hard way and ended up making two pairs of pliers. Anyways, both plier handles are identical. Sand the handles and round the edges before further assembly. Glue a short 1/2" dowel into one of the washers to make a peg. After it dries, assemble the pliers with the peg and put the second washer onto the peg. Apply glue to the second washer, top edge of the dowel, and handle. Make sure the joint can move like it should. Think about it and try it before applying any glue, hopefully it will be obvious from the pictures! When the glue has dried trim and sand the dowel to be flush with the washer.

Step 9: Scissors

Use the attached template to cut the pieces for scissors, you need two of each. Stack and glue the pieces, then sand and round the edges. The scissors are joined with a 1/4” dowel and wooden washers. Use glue only in the right(!) spots as described in the prior step to fix the washers and dowel to the scissor handles, and be sure the joint can still move!

Step 10: Pincer Pliers

Use the attached templates to cut pieces for pincer-pliers. I used 5 mm cherry, stacked and glued four layers strong. Sand and round the edges. Assemble with a 3/8" dowel and washers as you did the pliers and scissors in prior steps. Use the pincer-pliers to pull out "nails" from the bench top.

Step 11: Gears

The gears are sized for the 1-1/2” hole spacing mentioned above. Its easiest to cut the gears on a laser cutter; but with some patience it can be done on a scroll saw. I cut the gears from 1/8” birch plywood, then laminated them to 1/2” thick maple disks for looks and strength. Cut a finger hole into the maple disk to operate the gears, or attach a handle. I made a little removable handle. Patterns for a 28-teeth gear, a 25-teeth gear, and a 9-teeth gear are attached. The small gears I doubled up and glued onto the 1/2" dowel and a 1-5/8" maple disk. The larger gears attach to the bench top with the "nails" you made earlier.

Step 12: ​Screws, Nuts, and Wrenches

Refer to my Instructable "Wooden Threads With Your Router Table" to make wooden screws, nuts, and washers, 1/2” and/or 3/4” diameter. If you make screws and nuts you can also make a hex wrench to fit the screws. Use the attached templates to cut the pieces using either a laser cutter or scroll saw, then glue them together (two layers or more) for strength. Sand and slightly round the edges.

Step 13: Connectors

Use your imagination to make a bunch of erector-set style connectors. I made them from 3/8” thick maple strips, 1” wide and at various length. Cut 1/2” holes and slots along the centerline. The holes should match the hole pattern of the bench top, i.e. 1-1/2 inches apart.

Step 14: Bench Stops

Make some wooden cubes with 3/4” dowels to work as bench top stops.

Step 15: Toolbox

I built the toolbox from 1/2” plywood. Dimensions are 12” by 7” with 4” tall side walls. It is 6-1/2” tall in the center on the side pieces and has a 3/4” dowel for a handle. The handle is held in place with maple washers and 1/4" dowel pins. The box fits nicely onto the lower shelf of the work bench.

Step 16: Embellishments

If you have access to a laser engraver you can put your personal touch on the tools and accessories like shown in some of the pictures.

The bench and bench top were finished with polyurethane. The scissors and pliers were finished with butcher block oil. The toolbox was painted as the plywood I used wasn't very nice. Everything else was left unfinished natural wood.

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